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GMC belongs to the galaxy of automobile makes to have never fallen out of the upmarket echelons. This renowned American brand has been satisfying personal and commercial needs of millions customers for more than a century already. Most of the time it has been a division of General Motors LLC; currently, it is the second-largest-selling marque in the North American segment after Chevrolet. Except for the home market, GMC vehicles are widely spread across Middle East area.
Brief Evolution Overview
The establishment of GMC brand is much owed to the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and its founders, brothers Grabowsky. In 1900 the two designed their first pickup truck prototype that has given push to the development of truck segment after the company was acquired by General Motors in 1909. The latter renamed the division into GMC Truck. Trucks under this brand first appeared in the 1912 New York International Auto Show.
In early years General Motors opened three operational facilities within the USA to assembly GMC cars; they were located in Michigan, California and Missouri. In 1925 the parent conglomerate decided to acquire a controlling share from Yellow Coach (bus manufacturer). The idea was to enter bus segment; hence, with this purpose GM renamed GM Truck, adding Coach Division to its title. A new formation has been busy with the design of coaches and buses for more than sixty years. However, in late 1980s this production line was closed due to an increased competition.
During WWII, the company produced about 600 thousand lorries, which were intensively used by the US Armed Forces. The wartime manufacture also involved the DUKW models – the vehicles that delivered troops storming the seaside area. The post-war production was redirected towards commercial and utility vehicles.
Competition with Chevrolet
Since the very inception as a GM’s subsidiary, GMC trucks have been given a touch of Chevrolet design. Initially, trucks developed by two divisions were nearly identical. In the 1920s GM’s flagship brand was marketed as a solution for private ownership, while GMC cars were intended for commercial use.
Besides, starting from 1962, the companies began applying different technological/design approaches, i.e. Chevy’s units featured dual-headlights, while GMC’s – quad-headlights. Nonetheless, since 1973, trucks from both brands became ‘twins’: they shared everything save for trims and cost. In later years, the differentiation became more perceptible with some body and design modifications.
Utility and Commercial Cars
Trucks were not the only segment where GMC has managed to succeed. In the beginning of the 1950s they outlived a crucial transformation from work machines to lifestyle vehicles. Taking into account such makeover, the company released Suburban Pickup, powered by Pontiac V-8 engine. Their production line counted only 1000 units, some of which survived till these days.
Alongside with this line, the automaker developed its other directions. Between 1937 and today, it has produced a number of SUV models (Suburban, Tracker, Jimmy, S-15 Jimmy, Typhoon, Yukon, Envoy – all discontinued), vans (Handi-Van, Handi-Bus, Safari, Vandura, Rally – all discontinued), buses (RTS, classic, S Series, P-Series, Old Look, New Look – all discontinued), light-/medium-/heavy-duty truck models (Sprint, Caballero, Sonoma, Cyclone, TopKick, C-Series, W-Series, T-Series, Forward, 7500, 9500, Astro 95, Brigadier, general – all discontinued).
In addition, the brand was sometime successful in the segment of fire trucks, motorhomes, ambulances as well as transit buses.
To continue, in 1996 GM united GMC with Pontiac division with the aim to give prominence to the latter brand. Eleven years later the company’s inventory was replenished with Acadia crossover SUV – the first unibody vehicle. The release was followed by the upcoming introduction of Terrain middle-sized crossover SUV. Both series are current best –sellers in SUV market (including Denali family).
Nowadays GMC is preoccupied with the design of:
- multi-purpose trucks (of various duty level): Canyon, Sierra (1500/1500 Denali/2500HD/3500HD/2500 Denali HD/3500 Denali HD/Chassis Cab);
- SUVs: Terrain, Acadia, All-New Yukon (including Denali family);
- vans: Savana (Passenger, Cargo, Cutaway).